How important is a job description and how much can it help you?
Most recruiters today are still highly transactional. They have their eyes on the end goal, which is to fill jobs fast, instead of focusing on creating the best candidate journey, which would actually help them do that.
Writing an engaging, candidate-centric job description is part of crafting a great candidate experience. Done right, a well-written job description could help you fill more jobs faster and better, attracting top talents and filtering out unqualified ones. And hiring faster could win you the highest quality candidate, who is usually in high demand and scarce supply!
What will a bad job description cost you?
We’re aware of a handful of companies that are guilty of the copy-pasting old, outdated job description to new openings. As employers, you wouldn’t appreciate it when candidates copy-paste their cover letters to other companies, right? It goes both ways with candidates too.
Perhaps you just posted a vacancy, and you find an influx of CVs coming into your inbox. But none of them seems to excite you with their qualifications.
A poorly written job description will drive away top talents. Top applicants are in high demand, and they are less likely to opt for jobs that are vague and poorly explained. Not only will it drive away top talents, but it will also reflect poorly on your employer branding, and will only attract weak-to average-performing candidates.
A poorly written job description could slow down your hiring process, making it harder for both the candidate and your company to find each other. Not to mention, it will cost you time and money in lost productivity.
Imagine this, think of the time you spend screening candidates, doing multiple interviews, making decisions, and onboarding them. Then, think of the opportunity cost; what could you have done in that same time frame, had you filled your job faster with a top-quality talent? Wouldn’t it be better to onboard your perfect candidate as soon as possible, start producing and getting results?
Then put in an extra effort to work on that job description!
What does a good job description look like?
1. Searchable Job Title
It is imperative to choose a job title that candidates search for. There was a time when using buzzwords such as wizards or ninjas were a thing to make your postings stand out, but those days are way behind us now. Candidates are looking for commonly searched titles such as “Marketing Manager”, “analyst”, “developer”, or “event specialist”. These are the common words that will get you traffic. We recommend using Indeed’s job trends to see the most popular job titles and follow their advice:
“A good rule of thumb for determining whether a job title is acceptable or not is to look at the job title and ask yourself if someone would include it on their business card. If not, refine your job titles as needed. For example, “Social Media Manager” or “Front Desk Receptionist” are high-quality job titles, while “Warehouse Worker Hiring Immediately” or “Mechanic $12/hour” are low-quality job titles.”
2. To-the-point essential details
You don’t want a 5-page job description that will scare candidates away, but not too short that would leave them with a lot of question marks. The challenge is to make it specific, brief, but enough to paint a picture of what a typical day may look like for a candidate.
3. Job duties & responsibilities
You want to visualize a picture in the candidate’s mind of how most of their waking hours would look like. This is where writing in the second person comes in handy. It will put the focus on them, and help them better visualize themselves as one of your employees.
Here are some examples:
- You will be conducting interviews with clients
- You will create videos and articles about relevant topics
- You will be examining financial transactions and credit history
- You will type in customer’s data into an excel sheet
4. Qualifications, soft skills and hard skills:
You want to list mandatory skills that will attract the right candidates and filter out those that don’t fulfil them. Be transparent.
- You have at least a bachelor’s degree
- 0-2 years of working experience
- Proficient in Java, C++
- You have excellent communication and presentation skills
If you are looking for a culture fit and not merely someone that can get the job done, we recommend writing a list of personalities you want to attract for that specific job.
- You are tech-savvy,
- You have the willingness to learn,
- You are extroverted and a people-person,
- You are, motivated, self-driven and a self-starter
- You have a sense of humour
While we don’t recommend stating the exact salary you’ll offer, it never hurts to mention what’s in it for the candidates to work with you. Start by stating a salary range, boast about the mentorship program you offer, maybe Friday cocktails or trivia with coworkers (virtually or in-person once we are able) or these days any fun virtual activities your team participate in.
Today’s talent pool is looking for more than a salary, they are looking for challenge and advancement. And fun.
6. Value proposition
Let’s face it, most companies are not like Apple, with its well-known values and mission that shake the world. Start with what you do, and what you offer. A little bit about your company and the company’s culture. Then, tell candidates about why anybody wants to work there. What differentiates you from other companies? What kind of people are you trying to attract? The value proposition doesn’t have to be too long, 3 – 4 sentences will suffice.
Instead of solely getting your recruiters to write them, maybe take an extra step to ask the current team about what their day-to-day looks like. What kind of people will be working with them? Who will they be working with? What kind of projects will they be involved in?
And also, have you ever thought of making videos of how a typical day at your company would look like? Your job description may only be 800 words, but a video is worth at least a thousand. Let those videos do the talking!
Of course, the job description is just one of the many things you can do to attract better candidates. Contact us here to learn how you can fill more jobs faster!
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